Since the first few inches of water in a swimming pool contains almost 80-90% of all the pool contaminants such as dirt, body oils, and bacteria, it’s important to the health of your pool and its patrons that the swimming pool gutter system is doing its job by skimming the surface of these contaminants constantly and effectively.

Swimming pool gutters can range from traditional open-trough style gutters to integral recirculation systems. The term “integral supply and return gutter” simply means that the gutter system itself contains the pan or trough to collect the skimmed water as well as the actual piping to supply the clean, filtered water back to the swimming pool. Combining the plumbing within the gutter system itself reduces the potential for leaks due to broken or cracked underground piping that can be caused by freeze/thaw conditions or rust.

The following factors are some of the first things we consider when designing a pool gutter system.

What materials will be used?

Proven options for integral supply and return gutters include 12-gauge stainless steel, extruded PVC, and aluminum. Concrete gutters are either tiled, painted, or PVC-coated and usually are not designed to be integral.

Gutter or skimmer?

We often need to decide if an existing pool needs to have its aging skimmers replaced as part of a renovation. A lot of this depends on local health codes, as a continuous rim flow design (where the water flows over the edge all around the pool) is more hygienic than traditional will skimming weirs.

How will the pool address surge capacity?

Will the pool be designed to store it in the gutter, in the pool itself with adjustable skimmer weirs or in a balance or surge tank?

What will the gutter lip to deck height elevation be?

Generally, the lower this height the better, as it allows easier access for pool patrons. However, the lowered deck elevation must be coupled with a much wider gutter to prevent splash-out. Gutters can even be designed with the gutter lip and the deck at the same level.

We also consider the space between the gutter lip and the back of the gutter. Will it be open or enclosed with flow-through grating? Although open gutters are cheaper, closed gutters offer additional safety advantages.

What will the primary function of the pool be?

A world-class natatorium has different needs than a high school swimming pool. Keeping the gutter system simple keeps initial as well as long-term maintenance costs in line.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to efficiency in a large pool, but remember that RenoSys offers complete design assistance for complicated new construction or renovation projects.